"Another perceived attribute of intellectuals that needs rethinking and revision: the assumption that they are deeply and unequivocally committed to personal, political and intellectual freedom and especially free expression…many Western intellectuals’ commitment to intellectual freedom is selective at best."
Paul Hollander
(1932- ) Escaped from Hungary in 1956, American scholar, journalist, and political writer
Society, July-August 1983
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Reader comments about this quote:
'at very best'
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Modernday 'intellectuals' are in fact mere 'rationalists' so to say. They definitely lack the 'emotive/moral perspective' and are hence not very successful personally nor effective politically.
     -- Vedapushpa, Bengaluru/India     
    I guess for "intellectuals" then as now, it doesn't pay to draw attention to yourself with ideas that do not conform to the State's agenda. It might get you put on the same watch list that NRA members, Vets returning home, Ron Paul supporters, Libertarians, and other "right wing" nut jobs are on. Careful careful...Big Brother is watching.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    J Carlton, I agree with you totally.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    Bill Buckley summed it up pretty well. He said that he would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty. I'd probably change that to the Dallas phone book as I don't trust people who elect the likes of The Kennedys, Kerrys, and Franks.
     -- jim k, austin     
    A good quote but not all true - he should have added the word many - ...many intellectuals... like he does ...many Western intellectuals... The quote also lacks the positive side of intellectuals' thoughts on intellectual freedom. Vedapushpa, I would say your fellow countrymen who are Rotarian's would have a different answer.
     -- RBESRQ     
    A dangerous and overly generalized quote, as RBESRQ suggests do to its' lack of the modifer many. Consider the source. Hungarians always or at least very often look or looked down their noses at all nations around them. They are an insular country (not unlike Japan) that has resented for almost 100 years the loss of their empire. Their language is so different than the rest of Europe they cannot talk to anyone. What does the gentleman think about Eastern intellectual freedom, I would ask. I have some sense of Hungarian sentiment, I was married to one and had friends and acquaintances of that persuasion.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    I think the term 'intellectuals' is too broad. Social planners, social engineers, egalitarians, and narcissists fit the bill. An intellectual is really just someone who thinks -- I don't have a problem with that, but when they attempt to foist their new ideals on others through government mandate, then I take exception -- when their ideas become "-isms" look out! I find that most 'do-gooders' have very limited dogmatic views and stifle any other form of 'service.' When an intellectual becomes an egotist, he becomes a bore.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    I have often said "only an intellectual could come up with something that stupid". Man made global warming is a prime example.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Warren stay in a closed room or better yet smoking bar with a crowd of people without ventilation and see whether or not mans body heat and bad habits can make it a little bit uncomfortable. Then extrapolate (sorry for the big word which is probably over your head) to the earth with its' 6.8 billion people and industrial bad habits and you might (but I also mighty doubt your mental abilities in this regard) get a slight glimmer of the possibilty that man can create environmental degradation not only to water and land but also to the air. How else dear Sir do you explain acid rain, acidic sea water ad infinitem?
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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